Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Collection

A few weeks ago I wrote about the pompiers/fireman, mail carriers and garbage collectors that come to the apartment during the holidays to collect their holiday bonuses from people. Someone gave me a website that lists the appropriate amount to give to each group of people on your list (or rather at your door).
Well, imagine my surprise when an official paper from the Mairie/Town Hall posted in my building tells me I don't have to give anything to these people!

The note says (more or less):
Notice of Information: Collections in the Buildings
The collection of New Year's Gifts or the selling of calendars by the people who work for Town Hall is forbidden. The collections that are claimed by these people, real or fake, must be politely dismissed and Parisiens must not respond to their demands.

For those of you with a better understanding of French, forgive me any mistakes.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
3:03 PM



We always give a little something to the dustmen and the firemen. The post office don't come to us because we have a boîte postal, which is a pity because their's is really useful

# posted by Anji : 4:16 PM  

Wow - great info!! There was a discussion about this on the members' forum at MESSAGE. Hope you don't mind but I "stole" your photo of the sign posted in your building to show the others on the forum. Thanks and great blog you have here!!

# posted by Pat : 5:41 PM  

If they come to my door I'm going to give them money. The post officials, my husband was told at work, do not work for the Mairie, but rather the State and therefore I guess we can/should give them money.
Thanks for your comment. Glad you found the information useful.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 9:33 PM  

The one group we do give money to is the post. I'm not sure if it's because we really like our postlady or because there's a lot of people in the family who worked for the post office (Steph did, briefly, his mom retired from there and my brother-in-law works in one now). But the calander is nice, and it's only 10 euros anyway.

I think the pompiers came last week before Steph got home from work but I had a good idea who it was and didn't answer the door! :/

# posted by ViVi : 9:41 PM  

Hi Auntie !

The sign from the City Hall (written in French by an apparently gramatically challenged individual or committee) says specifically that it pertains only to those individuals who work for the City of Paris.

That excludes:

- mailpeople

(C'est La Poste et non la Ville)


- firemen/firewomen

(Dans chaque département, les sapeurs-pompiers dépendent d'un organisme public, le Service départemental d'incendie et de secours (SDIS), financé par les collectivités locales (communes, conseil général) et administré par des élus locaux. Ils sont rattachés au Ministère de l'Intérieur à travers la Direction de la défense et de la sécurité civiles (DDSC). Leur hiérarchie suit des grades qui correspondent à ceux de l'Armée de terre. At: http://www.pompiersdefrance.org/article.php?sid=296).

There is a question as to whether or nor the "éboueurs" (trash collectors) are legally entitled to collect, since some case law has stated that if the city has subcontracted out its trash collection to a private company, then those working for the private firm can collect étrennes.

When in Rome …

Of course we give étrennes, since we know that the sale of calendars helps the sellers and the sellers' families, given the pittances they earn. It is also a gesture of appreciation to people working for us, whom we see every day.

Among the reasons that the Paris City Hall (under Socialist management nowadays, alas, with the "gabegie" that entails) has put up the poster warning you not to give money, there are two which come to the fore:

- It's political. They want you to think that they are protecting your interests. They couldn't care less about you. (The City is well on its way to a New York-scale financial crisis and an unheard of 1.8 billion euro bond issue is scheduled for 2005. Keep your eyes on the front pages. It's going to cause a lot of commotion when the Parisians finally realize just what a bond issue is – and how it is paid for, and who does the paying. Note, too, that regional taxes will increase by 23% next year and you'll certainly feel it on your "impots locaux". The "verts" wanted to increase regional taxes by 150%, but cooler heads prevailed, fortunately. The Regional Executive is Socialist, too. Gosh, could there be a connection ? (smile))

- They don't particularly want to carry the can for all the people who dress up in a uniform and come around in season to collect money. They say "We've warned you" and disclaim any further responsibility.


# posted by L'Amerloque : 8:46 PM  

L'A, I have to admit when I saw the sign I was a bit confused. How could people go around collecting money in the name of their organization if the organization says it's "interdite." Personally, I like it better when they are selling tickets for a raffle, as I saw pompiers doing a couple of months ago. The US has some amazing fundraising schemes. The Paris financial crisis...ugh.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 10:01 PM  

>> Personally, I like it better when they are
>> selling tickets for a raffle,
>> as I saw pompiers doing a
>> couple of months ago.

Raffles in France are subject to quite severe control and monitoring, since French law states (I paraphrase here) "Any games, lotteries or drawings which depend on chance or luck alone are prohibited." This make is quite difficult to organize a raffle easily, as we understand "raffle" in the USA. Generally only members of organizations ("ou leurs ayants droits ou invités" … and when the French say "ou" in this context they mean "et", don't forget …) are allowed to participate in raffles (the local Scouts/Guides/Brownies, for example, or the local private school PTA or women's hospital auxiliary or the local soccer club), i.e., pay money. Organizations such as the Pompiers and Scouts de France are allowed much more latitude that you or I would ever have. (smile) The case law and precedent here on this subject is enormous and the authorities keep a careful watch. If you're thinking of organizing anything like a raffle, having a "huissier" among your acquaintaces is a good thing, since her/his input at organization time and her/her presence at the drawing(s) will ensure compliance with French law. All this arcana I convey to you from personal experience, gained when organizing raffles involving tourism and travel in Paris and the provinces. (smile)

>>The US has some amazing fundraising schemes.

A surprising number of which are illegal in France. (smile)


# posted by L'Amerloque : 1:56 PM  

Post a Comment